Which is better for your health, Almond Milk or Skim Milk?

Written by Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

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There was once very few options regarding dairy-free milk alternatives in years past. However, in recent times, there have opened up more options to go dairy-free, which may be a choice for people who may be lactose-intolerant. One of those choices is almond milk, which contains no dairy products, since it derives from almond tree nuts.

If you are trying to lose weight, you might also want to consider the health benefits of drinking almond milk, since it helps with weight loss. The unsweetened variety has only thirty calories per each one-cup serving, but might be a bit too bland for some people. However, the sweetened almond milk tastes much more delicious, and is only sixty calories per each one-cup serving, which is still far less of a caloric intake than skim milk, which contains as much as eighty calories per each one-cup serving.

If you are on a high-protein diet, however, your best choice may be to stick with skim milk, as it contains as much as 9 grams of protein per each one-cup serving. One cup of almond milk only contains one gram of protein. However, if you are planning on obtaining your protein from other sources such as eggs, cheese, and meat, you might not decide on switching to skim milk, and decide that the benefits of almond milk may override that factor.

The amount of carbohydrates in skim milk does not waver based on brand, or manufacturer. Skim milk contains 8 grams of carbs across the board. However, based on brand, flavor, and manufacturer the amount of carbs contained in skim milk could vary from anywhere from only 1 gram to as much as 22 grams.

Skim milk also is non-fat, while almond milk contains anywhere between 2 grams to 3 grams of fat in a one cup serving.

Dairy foods contain important nutrients your body requires such as calcium as well as vitamin D, which are both needed for strong bone development. When considering switching to almond milk, it is vital that you consider ensuring that you will still be able to obtain these nutrients from other sources in addition to the nutrition being provided by drinking almond milk. A one-cup serving of skim milk offers your body 32 percent of the daily requirements needed for calcium, and 30 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin D. However, a one-cup serving of almond milk provides slightly more calcium, and slightly less levels of vitamin D, as it offers 45 percent of the nutritional values of calcium, and 25 percent of the nutritional values of vitamin D.

Skim milk also offers a vital source of potassium which is equal to 419 milligrams per each one-cup serving. The level of potassium in almond milk may vary, as it could range anywhere from only 35 milligrams to 180 milligrams per each one-cup serving. Potassium levels are important to consider when choosing different types of foods, since potassium helps to decrease blood pressure by lowering the levels of sodium in the body, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.

Also levels of vitamin E are equally important to consider when choosing what type of milk you may choose to drink. Almond milk contains high levels of vitamin E, reaching as much as between 45 to 50 percent of the daily requirements for nutritional values of vitamin E. However, the amount of vitamin E in skim milk is insignificant. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which may help to protect your body and cells within your body from free radical damage, which may help to defend your body against the aging process.

References:

USDA National Nutrient Database: Milk, Nonfat, Fluid, With Added Nonfat Solids, Vitamin A and Vitamin D (Fat Free or Skim)

Almond Breeze: Original Unsweetened

Silk Almondmilk Original Unsweetened

Silk: Products: Almondmilk

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients)

MedlinePlus: Vitamin E

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